In the Southwestern United States, few manmade objects can compete with the majestic beauty of Arizona’s mountains, but the copper design on the Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building at the University of Arizona’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus might come close.

The building, which features a striated texture achieved by manipulating 90-95 percent recycled copper, was one of 15 projects recognized at the 2017 North American Copper in Architecture Awards. Now in its 10th year, the awards program continues to celebrate building projects for their use of architectural copper and copper alloys.

“The outstanding quality and ingenuity of the copper projects submitted over the past 10 years is truly inspiring,” said Stephen Knapp, director of the Sheet, Strip & Plate Council for the Copper Development Association, which organizes the program. “Not only is copper known for its sustainability and durability, its innate beauty continues to make it an appealing building material. Every year I am amazed by the innovative ways copper is being applied.”

Winners were announced earlier this year in the categories of new construction, restoration and ornamental application. Here are this year’s recipients. 

New construction

The seven winners in the new construction category included two private residences, a pump station and an apartment building, among other building types.

Chandler, Arizona-based sheet metal contractor Kovach Building Enclosures offered its expertise to a project for the University of Phoenix’s Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building. The cladding system utilized nearly 4,800 formed, bent and perforated copper panels to reflect light and cast shadows that reflect the city’s striated canyon walls. The panels are custom-shaped with folds.

In Toronto, a house on Dovercourt Road was designed to meet the artistic and design-focused tastes of its owner. The project brought together Toronto-based developer and builder Luloo Boutique Homes, copper wall panel manufacturer Copper in Design and North York, Ontario-based general contractor Mazifa Corp.

The entire facade of the 166 Dovercourt House consists of aged copper, which officials on the project said helps the modern home blend in with the old Victorian homes in the rest of the neighborhood.

Over at 210 Pacific Street in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, sheet metal contractor Fine Metal Roof Tech of Murray, Utah, worked with New York-based developer and builder NAVA on the 120-foot-tall apartment building. The exterior of the complex is clad with 15,000 individual pieces of pressed brass tiles in 0.02-inch thickness. The pressed brass pieces are fastened to 8,000 feet of a stainless steel vented track system and steel tracks supporting ventilation. Custom pieces were fabricated to fit around corners.

At a private residence in Gurley, Alabama, sheet metal contractor CopperWorks Corp. of Decatur, Alabama, worked with Hunstville, Alabama-based general contractor Kenneth Chandler Construction and Buffalo, New York-based copper manufacturer Aurubis.

The five-year expansion project, which included adding a new kitchen and living area extension, remodeling the home’s roof and constructing a two-story pool house, required more than 13,000 pounds of copper.

At another private residence — this time in Juneau, Alaska —sheet metal contractor Fine Metal Roof Tech was hired again for a copper project. The residence features a 20-ounce copper roof in two systems of 4,000 diamond shingles and standing-seam cladding, covering 5,000 square feet of the home’s roof. Officials with the project said copper allows the home to withstand the state’s harsh weather, which often includes an excess of 100 mph winds.

Back in New York, the Staten Island Courthouse in the St. George neighborhood now features four copper-clad “towers of justice,” which catch the morning light and provide a beacon for those arriving by ferry, officials said. New York City-based curtainwall consultant Heintges & Associates worked with Ennead Architects on the project. The new courthouse is adjacent to the Staten Island Borough Hall and Public Library, which have traditional copper standing-seam roofing and detailing.

Further northwest in Hoboken, New Jersey, the City of Hoboken Wet Weather Pump Station is now clad in folded copper louvers over translucent glass panels, which highlight the green aesthetic of aging copper. Hoboken-based Nastasi Architects was the project’s architect/builder.


The seven winners in the restoration category included a private residence, several government buildings and even a Hindu temple. 

At 31 E. 74th St. 74th St. in New York City, contractor B&B Sheet Metal Inc. based in Long Island City, New York, and Brooklyn-based subcontractor Apple Restoration & Waterproofing Inc. worked on six historic brownstones and two townhouses. The buildings were purchased from the Whitney Museum of American Art and were converted into 10 three- to five-bedroom units.

Officials with the project said copper was used because it was the original material on the building, and it was a landmark project. Five of the brownstones date back to the 1890s, which meant their redevelopment had to be approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Copper was the material of choice for the roof of a private residence in Alexandria, Virginia. Hyattsville, Maryland-based Wagner Roofing Co. was the sheet metal contractor for the project. Aurubis was the copper manufacturer. Twenty-ounce copper formed into flat-seam panels that were pre-tinned and fully soldered were used in the roof’s large valleys. Metal cladding was also replaced on the home’s southeast wall after the top of it was reconfigured to accommodate the sloped valley.

In Ottawa, Ontario, the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament received some copper roofing and ornamental restoration work. The historic building in Canada’s capital was originally constructed in 1866 and was rebuilt after a fire and completed in 1916.

Its most recent restoration project included the replacement of the existing copper batten roof, dormers and all ornamental copper cresting and finials. Each component was replicated with the original design and construction in mind to honor the building’s heritage. Markham, Ontario-based sheet metal contractor Heather & Little Ltd. was hired for the project.

The historic 119-year-old Fayette County Courthouse in Lexington, Kentucky, features a traditional bell tower capped by a copper dome, which was originally decorated with a galloping horse weathervane. Louisville, Kentucky-based sheet metal contractor Steinrock Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. worked under general contractor American Roofing & Metal Co. on the project, which included restoration work on the courthouse’s roofing and copper cupola.

The renovation molding around the dome consisted of 653 hand-cut, curved pieces, which were then soldered and buffed out to produce an exact reproduction of the original molding. The cupola was finished using soft copper in flat-locked panels to replicate the original construction. Another mold was made to reproduce 260 feet of the ornamental hip cap for the dome slate roof. Project officials estimated roughly 10,700 pounds of copper were used to complete the total restoration.

Back in Canada, a hotel-turned-office building received restoration work for its roof and ornamental details. Built in the early 1900s, the building was once Montreal’s prominent Windsor Hotel, but was transformed into an office building in the mid-1980s due to the hotel’s decline. Known as the Le Windsor-Mansard Rehabilitation Project, which was started in 2013, the nine-story building had its curved mansard roof restored. Project officials said copper was chosen as the building material to restore the sheet metal work to its original look and for its beauty and reliability. Lasalle, Quebec-based sheet metal contractor Toitures Trois Etoiles Inc. worked under Laval, Quebec-based project manager Luciano Salvatore Project Management and Blaineville, Quebec-based general contractor Toitures Hogue Inc. for the restoration.

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina, Saskatchewan, had its 105-year-old copper dome roof restored. Since the building and grounds are designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, the project required the expertise of conservation architect Spencer R. Higgins of Toronto-based Architect Inc. Two sheet metal contractors — Empire Restoration Inc. of Scarborough, Ontario, and Ultimate Construction of Barrie, Ontario — were also on the job. The general contractor for the project was Regina-based PCL Construction Management.

The work required 28,000 pounds of copper and covers approximately 6,000 square feet of roof surface area. Project officials said every effort was made to conserve as much of the original copper as possible, such as the garlands, which were removed and refurbished, as well as elements of the cupola and lantern areas.

In San Francisco, the Vedanta Temple’s teardrop-shaped roof was refurbished with approximately 5,000 pounds of copper to fix the corroded galvanized steel structure of the original Hindu house of worship.

San Marcos, California-based sheet metal contractor Hans Liebscher Custom Copperworks was hired for the project, which included new roof adornments that are approximately 7 feet tall and 38 inches in diameter. The temple’s cupola is 12 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. Project officials said all segments were hand-forged with no stamping or pressing.


In Toronto, the Wellington Building’s roof replacement allowed for the salvaged copper scrap to be used for a sculptural wall design inside its Parliament Library. 

Gatineau, Quebec-based roofing contractor Raymond Associates Roofing Inc. worked with the Quebec City-based Mometal Structures, the library’s copper sculpture wall contractor. CBS Specialty Metals (Canadian Brass & Copper Co.) in Concord, Ontario, was the copper distributor.

For the project, 13,000 square feet of aged copper was cut from the existing roof and then crated, sorted, flattened, perforated and bent on a press brake to provide the sound attenuation and sculptural finish. Officials on the project said the folded, perforated aged copper lining and the folded, sculptural aged copper shells take their inspiration from the triangulated roofscape of the Parliament Hill government buildings.  

10 years of project awards

The North American Copper in Architecture Awards is now in its 10th year. To celebrate, officials at the Copper Development Association asked the general public to select its top 10 projects from the last decade. An estimated 15,000 online votes were tallied, officials said. Among the award-winning copper projects were two museums, a medical facility, two city hall buildings, an academic library and others.

The 10th anniversary award winners are:

•          Canadian National War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario

•          Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City

•          Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia

•          Health Sciences Education Building on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in Phoenix

•          Harvard University’s Tozzer Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts

•          Montreal City Hall in Montreal

•          Private residence in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

•          Currie & Mackenzie Buildings Roof Replacement at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario

•          Milwaukee City Hall in Milwaukee

•          Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas.

For full project details, visit “Copper in Architecture Awards” under the Applications tab at


For reprints of this article, contact Jill DeVries at (248) 244-1726 or email